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In connection with this subject of the navy, it would be well if the government would cast an eye over our mercantile marine, and take some measures, if any are practicable, to induce a larger number of native Americans to take up a seafaring life. We have nothing to say against the foreigners in our mercantile marine. They are no doubt good sailors, and were they to enter the United States service would, we fear not, be true to our flag. But it does not comport with our national character, or national interests, to depend mainly on foreign sailors. At present the great body of the sailors in our mercantile marine, if we are rightly informed, are foreigners, and while it remains so, comparatively few natives of the country, hardly enough to be officers, will enter our ships. Something must be done to remedy this evil, or our own people will lose their maritime character, and we shall be entirely dependent on foreigners for the defence of our country,—for manning our fleets as we are now for filling up the ranks of our army. This comes from the false estimate in which we have of late years
held the army and navy, and the senseless cant of the peacemen against war and the military character. The evil will soon be past remedy, and we shall soon, if we do not bestir ourselves, have only the virtues of shopkeepers left. The rural population ought always to afford recruits for the army, and would do so in case of war; but where, if we plu'sue our present policy, are we to obtain recruits for our navy, and our mercantile marine? We must do something to elevate the common sailor, to render the sailor's life more honorable and more attractive, or all we have been saying of our national character and strength will turn out a vain boast.
MONTALEMBERT ON ENGLAND.*
[From Brownson's Quarterly Review for April, 1856.)
There is nothing that we have been more accustomed to hear from our youth up than predictions of the speedy ruin and downfall of England, and some of our friends do not hesitate to say, that she has already lost the high rank which she held a few years ago, and must now be regarded as a second-rate power. In most cases the wish, we apprehend, has been father to the thonglit. We are as strongly opposed to British preponderance as any of our friends, but we are not able to detect at the present moment any sure signs of the approaching downfall of the British empire. In the beginning, we were foolish enough to think that she had been drawn into the eastern war by France, although we never doubted but she would be the chief gainer by it, in case the allies were successful; but later developments prove that the war is principally hers, and that she has had the address to make Napoleon fight her battles, and to pour out French blood and French treasure for the promotion of her interests. We shall be much mistaken, if the French alliance does not turn out to have been formed in British much more than in French interests; and if we do not find, providing the allies succeed in humbling Russia, England in a few years more powerful than we have ever before known her, and standing still more decidedly at the head of modern commercial and industrial nations.
Napoleon, we take it, wished to be emperor, and to establish his dynasty on the throne of Faance. He could accomplish this latter object only by means of an alliance either with Russia against England, or by an alliance with England against Russia, backed, or not opposed by the rest of Europe. We suspect he preferred the former, but was defeated by the coldness of Russia, and the efforts of British diplomacy; nothing then remained for him but the latter. The Derby ministry conciliated Austria, and Nicholas preferred union with England, the last power in the world he wished to
* De l' Avenir Politique de l'Angleterre. Par M. Le Comte de Mon
Paris: Le Correspondant, 1855.
fight, to union with France. But Great Britain desired nothing more than an alliance with France against Russia, the only European power that could endanger either her trade or eastern possessions and conquests. An alliance with France against Russia would enable her, if not to combine all Europe against the czar, at least to isolate him, and perhaps to weaken effectually his power, to destroy his navy and ports, and to prevent him from interfering with her interests and projects in Turkey and Asia. Napoleon needed the alliance, because, unless supported by Russia and continental Europe, he could not maintain himself, or if himself, not his dynasty, or the imperial throne of France against her influence and machinations. She had recently deposed Louis Philippe, because his policy in Spain and Italy was not in accordance with her plans; and if he stood alone, she could as easily depose him, or prevent his dynasty from taking root. He could not sustain himself and provide for his dynasty in failure of the continental alliance, without her consent, and the war with Russia is the price he has had to pay for that consent. He probably las secured the French throne for bimself and family, which may be a great advantage for France and continental Europe; but he onght to make an addition to his title, and say: * Napoleon III., by the grace of God, the will of the nation, and the favor of Great Britain, emperor of the French.”
We know it is said, 'that England has lost in the present war the prestige of her old renown, and that the glory of all the successes obtained by the allies redounds to France; but we think this may be reasonably questioned. The war has given her no opportunity for any brilliant achievements on the water, her proper element; but we have never known her engaged in a European war on land, in which she has for the first two campaigns put forth more energy, or gained more credit. We are no military man, but as far as we are capable of judging, she has deserved, in proportion to the number of troops she has employed, as much credit as the French. If the French saved the English at Inkerian, the English saved the French at Alina. In the first bombardment of Sebastopol, it was the French, not the English, that were defeated ; and if they could have carried out their part of the combined attack as well as the English did theirs, it is not improbable the city would have been forced to surrender, and the losses, sufferings, labors, and expenses of the ten montlıs’ siege would have been spared. The French,
indeed, sustained themselves in the Malakoff, at a loss which will never be acknowledged; but they performed no act to surpass in bravery or in brilliancy the storming of the Redan by the English. It is unjust to give all the glory, whatever it be, of the war in the Crimea to the French. But it is probably the policy of England to let them claim it, for she is willing that they should have the empty glory, so long as she is able to reap all the solid advantages of the
The Englishman looks to the main chance, -gain is his idol, while glory is the Frenchman's. We confess, that England has surprised us by the power and energy she has displayed in the Russian war. We did not believe her capable of the efforts she has made. Never have we seen her stronger, more living, more energetic; we were about to say, more youthful; and never have her nobility and gentry, as well as her common soldiers, done themselves more honor. The clamors raised by Mr. Layard and the English press about the incapacity of the British aristocracy, and for à reform which shall put “the riglt man in the right place," seem to us at this distance perfectly ridiculous, if not something worse.
It is a great mistake, in our judgment, to think that England has lost any thing of her real power, and to represent her as playing a part subordinate to that of France. The war is really an English war, undertaken and carried on primarily for English interests; and if successful, it will raise the power of England far higher than it ever was before, and compel France henceforth, at the peril of her internal peace, to subserve the policy of the laughty island queen. It is trne, she cannot carry on alone the war against Russia ; but Napoleon cannot, unless backed by the continent, withdraw from that war against her consent, without losing his throne. She, however, can withdraw from it without having any thing to fear from France, or losing any thing of her rauk or power. As between France and England, the controlling power is on the side of the latter. The war is not popular in France; it drains her of her best blood, and is creating an enormous national debt, which tends to bring the government into subjection to the bankers and stock jobbers, whose centre of operations is London, and will be, till the mercantile system is broken up, or its seat is transferred, as it ultimately will be, to New Yor Napoleon would have made peace last May, if England had consented to it; and he is perfectly willing to make peace now, and on terms which Russia can accept, but she is not, and he alone cannot force her to do so; for he is not firinly enough seated on his throne to bid defiance to her intrigues and machinations, the disturbances she could create by encouraging the red-republicans, perhaps the Bourbons, and the terrible embarrassments for his government which she could create by her control of the credit system, in the meshes of which she has succeeded in entangling all modern Europe, except Russia.
Napoleon is not blind to the danger for France in continuing the war, and evidently sees the necessity of breaking at the earliest moment possible the English alliance. While we are writing, negotiations for peace are proceeding at Paris. What their result will be, it is impossible for us at this moment to foresee ; but we are inclined to be. lieve that peace will be made, because we think Napoleon has succeeded in convincing Russia and Austria, that it is safer for Europe to include him in a continental alliance against Great Britain, than it is to force him into an alliance with Great Britain against the continent, which would secure British preponderance, far more to be dreaded by them than even that of France. The events of the war have proved, that Russia and Austria can defend themselves against France, and France and Austria against Russia, and prevent her from seating herself on the Bosphorus. The true policy for these three powers is, then, to form a friendly alliance, and isolate Great Britain from the continent; or to force her to acquiesce in their continental system. If the French emperor has satisfied, as we think he has, Austria, Riissia, and the secondary German states of this, peace will be made, and he will have gained even more by the war than England. He will then have taken his proper place among European sovereigns; and if wise at home, 'have closed for a long time the era of revolutions in France. England's only continental ally, if peace now be made, will henceforth be Prussia-if even Pruissia. In a certain sense, this, undoubtedly, would be a triumph over Great Britain; but she would still remain the first naval, commercial, and manufacturing nation in the world. It would rob her of none of her real power; and would only prevent her from extending that power as much as she had hoped by engag. ing France to aid in fighting lier battles,—because her power depends on her trade in the East, with this continent, and her own colonies.